Lost & Found Orchestra Project (2016-now)

General background of the ongoing project: Lost & Found Orchestra

Lost & Found Orchestra is a continuous site-specific sound-art project, that I started in 2016. The idea behind this project is that every sound can form the basis of a sound or musical composition, which means that potential musical compositions can be found all around us, when you try to listen, and discover potential sounds that are hiding in everyday objects.

In this project I search for site-specific sounds that are hiding underneath the surfaces, within the materials and structures of buildings, spaces and objects. These objects and their sounds will then be a part of a electro-acoustic composition which is designed especially for this particular location or situation.

This composition is written on and controlled by a computer, which is the conductor of the piece. The computer sends the pre-designed electrical signals to a collection of electromagnets, solenoids (small electromagnetic clicking machines), actuators, small dc motors and possibly other technological tools with musical capabilities. The composition that runs from the computer dictates the length of the notes and the many variables and parameters of the effects that are put on top of the sounds, inside the computer, after routing the input signals of these sounds through contact microphones back into separate audio channels into the system, where they are amplified and played through a speaker system.

The collection of electromagnets, solenoids (small electromagnetic clicking machines), actuators, small dc motors carry out the musical composition in real-time by tapping and ticking the various rhythms onto the surfaces of the selected structures and objects, which creates a sensation within the space that it’s generated in which consists of the sonic qualities within the materials and the structures, the distance between these materials, structures or objects, and of course other parameters such as the size of the space and reverberation of the sounds.

The amplification and the layer of digital effects that are put on top of the sounds, also in real-time, after the vibrations have been captured by contact microphones on the surfaces, with such a low latency that the dry sound of the tick coincides with the effected signal, forming one single sound which seems to eminate from the space itself. The effects are meant to amplify certain characteristics within the sounds, and to eliminate certain unwanted artefacts which prevents the sounds from co-operating together as a unified sonic composition. Also I allow myself a certain artistic freedom when it comes to adding a certain amount of digital esthetics (the human element) to give the composition an extra ‘living’ quality.

Because the composition is carried out in real-time (nothing is pre-recorded), moving an actuator or solenoid changes the composition dramatically. In other words: it is a purely temporary composition, and can only exist in the space it’s designed in, for a limited time, until external circumstances are changed.

An extra tool which I added to the project at its’ third edition, is LED lights, which are connected to the actuators and electromagnetic ticking modules, in such a way that when an actuator gets a powered signal which makes it tap the surface, the LED light lights up with the same intensity, showing where the ticking sound was generated. When all actuators have a LED light incorporated in its’ module, and at the same time there is a semi darkened to darkened space, this results in a hypnotic lighting effect where the sounds visibly dance around the space.